Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon

"The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon" is not a blockbuster novel, but it is a worthwhile read as a gentle relaxing humour.  It was one of many books promoted by my local library.  I noticed that it was in a series, "The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency."  I had not read the first book, but watched the tv series on DVD.  Two of the main characters are who I picture when I read the book.

We are focused on beautiful women as slim, but in Botswana they prefer a traditional build which is large and Mma Precious Ramotswe with her good humour and common sense personifies beauty, at least in the eyes of her husband JLB Matekoni, a mechanic.  Ramatswe is a detective which she decided to do after her father died and she sold off his stock of cattle.

She hired a snooty, somewhat obnoxious secretary, Grace Makutsi who declared herself an associate detective and further progressed in this 14th instalment to this series.  The two of them manage to help resolve a lot of mysteries, many just ordinary, but a few with consequences.  In this book there are two mysteries for them to solve.  One is to determine the proper heir of an estate and the other is to learn who has been running a hate campaign against the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon.  Most of the narrative is devoted to the domestic life of the two leading women characters. It is beautiful how they and the author dissect a range of everyday occurrences, but they eventually also solve the two mysteries after the usual deadends and red herrings.  Although very different personalities they develop a friendship and both have likeable husbands.

Full of euphemisms such as "late" means dead and "share a blanket" means having sex.  There is no profanity, lurid sex and almost no violence so if you need those items to get your adrenaline going, this is not for you.  But if you would like a few laughs and insights into human nature any book in the series is apt to be your cup of tea.

The author, Alexander McCall Smith has been a university lecturer in medical law in Scotland, but has spent a fair amount of time in Botswana and southern Africa.

Botswana which I had never paid much attention to seemed a little more interesting as I watched the series,  Later it was used as a positive example of success story in  "Why Nations Fail" The author demonstrated how an inclusive society developed in Botswana, in the middle of African colonial powers by getting some relief from British authorities after a visit to England by some chiefs.  At the time they were one of the poorest nations in Africa, but because they developed an inclusive society they became one of the richer ones.  Today they have one of the highest incomes in Africa and also one of the best records of democracy.  Fortunately for them diamonds were not discovered until after independence and now help to benefit the whole society in stead of just a few foreigners.  You can read more at:

There are a few references to a key founder of Botswana Seretse Khama in the book.

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